T O I L E T - T A L K S
I give my mom a short kiss on the cheek before gracefully getting out of the car and onto the school sidewalk, slamming the car door. The start of my last highschool year gave me such a rush of overwhelming anxiety that I felt like I should be doubled over on the footpath and chucking up in the newly planted rose bushes.
This wasn't currently happening though because I had been through many years of schooling and first day anxieties and I now know how to keep my shit together. However my best friend, Esther Loughty, whom I had known since the first day of primary school, had not seemed to have learned anything from the previous stressful years and hastily ran toward the entrance of the school, no doubt making a b-line for the girls bathrooms.
Esther has always had a weak stomach and could never handle much but after shed stuffed herself full with anything edible she could find in my cupboards this morning explaining that this was her ¨coping mechanism¨ i wasn't surprised when i found her in one of the toilet stalls, i felt bad, obviously, but i had seen this moment coming from about a mile away. And yet I still wasn't prepared.
I swung the stall door closed behind me as I walked through and bent down behind my best friend, holding her hair back. The situation I was in felt like it had been pulled straight from a shitty rom com or coming of age movie. We looked like two teenagers who thought a night out was a good decision since one of us had been dumped, one of us got totally smashed, and now here we are. Thank god that hadn't really happened, my mom would kill me.
¨are you good now?¨
i questioned in a soft voice, almost motherly, still rubbing large circles in Esther's back gently while she finished throwing up. I grabbed a hair band from my wrist and tied her hair up in a high messy ponytail to keep it out of the way just in case she needed to go for a second round at emptying her stomach. She wipes her mouth with her hand before she answers with a scratchy, parched sounding voice.
¨yeah, who knew the year would start like this?¨
truth be told, we both did. This happens every year, which only proves that Esther's before school binging wasn't the best way of coping when paired with the nerves that come with the new, and last, school year.
The day i met her she had thrown up in the sandpit all over another kid at recess, she simply couldn't handle the new year stress and yet she comes on the first day of school every year. Guess you have to go sometime.
By now we had both moved to sit with our backs against the cool walls of the toilet stall, our legs bent at the knee. I unzipped my bag to get her my water bottle, since she's never remembered to bring her own, to which she thanked me and downed half the bottle quickly.
The bell for the first period has long gone and we both still sat in the stall talking about everything possible and nothing at the same time. Our annual first period skip. We always stay locked in the toilets for the first period to make sure Esther doesn't need to be sick again.
¨you sure you don't want to go home? If you still feel sick I think you should¨
I checked with her quickly. Honestly. I didn't want to have to spend a day moping around without her by my side, which i knew was selfish, but she was my best friend. Of course i had loads of other friends but she was one of the only people who have stuck by my side since primary, all my other friends had found different people and strong bonds with others among the new crounds. On the contrary, she was my best friend, and if she wasn't feeling well I shouldn't drag her around school all day.
¨no its fine, i'll feel better. Now shut up and enjoy our annual toilet talk because this is probably one of the last you'll ever get.¨
she staggers through her sentences with a dry throat, even though she'd gone through half of my water, and laughs at the end. Her laugh was only slight and you could easily tell she was upset, she did have reason to be, it being the last year and all.
After she said this though, reality finally settled in around me, this is our last year. Next year we will both be in university, I'm sure. How much of each other would we be able to see next year? What if we ended up just drifting apart like everyone else does? One thing was for sure, I didn't want us to let go of what we have and I was going to do my best to prevent that from happening.
¨what happens next year then?¨
my words were almost inaudible, i had said it so quietly under my breath, like i was talking to myself. I was scared to say anything about the year after the one we are stuck in for now. I shuffle my feet not really expecting an answer, or no good one anyway. Nothing that i would have wanted to hear could have been said, because it would have been a lie at the same time. Esther puts both her hands on my knees and looks me straight in the eye.
¨look, whatever happens next year doesn't matter. We can worry about it when we get to it¨
I didn't want to start worrying about it when I got there because then it would be too late to think anything much about it. Esther has always been more laid back in every situation possible, calm and collected, but she always looks awkward or on edge. It's just the way she is. Once she'd told me in 9th grade while i was trying to finish an assignment just an hour before it was due that this is why i shouldn't only worry about things when it's time to be worried. I'll admit I had to agree with her there, and I still do.
We still look each other in the eye and eventually both end up a smiling mess, laughing about nothing again. Her words before were meant to be reassuring but all they did was make me think about what was to come for us both even more, I didn't show this though. Before I could think anymore about it I stretched out my arm and held my pinkie out in front of Esther's face. She rolls her eyes but takes my pinkie with hers anyway.
I say slowly, trying to string together what i wanted to say in my head, a sentence that would cover it all. Esther gives me a look, one of anticipation.
¨promise me, that no matter what happens, well both stay the way we are now¨
I wasn't sure if that made total sense to her but it did to me. I wanted to stay close to her forever, have her be my best friend. She gives me a sure look and nods. Maybe it did make sense to her because she was thinking the same thing.
¨of course we will, best friends, rach¨
Just as I went to hug the girl on the other side of the stall she's just thrown up in over our sappy friendship promise, the toilet door opens with a squeak. Boots click on the tiled floor and past our locked stall. Both me and Esther are looking at each other with no idea what to do in this situation.
Two girls locked in one stall could go many ways and I didn't expect it to go the way we wanted. Just as I thought we were in the clear a loud bang came from outside the door to our stall.
¨whos in here?¨
We both knew who that voice belonged to and neither of us wanted to answer it. Nicola Hall, school bully you could say. She didn't really bull anyone she just wasn't the nicest person out there. She definitely has some sort of attitude and thought she owned the whole school but mostly she'd just stay quiet and mind her own business, which i'll say, that's the one thing I admire about her.
I got up carefully off the cool floor and slid the lock over, pushing the door open with both my hands. On the other side of the door Nicole stood with her hands on her hips, almost like a judging teacher. She lifted an eyebrow at the both of us and raised a hand to point between us. I immediately knew she'd spread some sort of messed up rumour about us both as soon as she got out of here, two girls in the same stall do look a little weird though, ill agree.
¨so you two, oh my god, i thought you guys were just friends but maybe not¨
She lets out a loud laugh and grabs the sink behind her for support after Esther and i both gasp with shock, even though we knew this was coming and her words don't mean anything because
It wasn't true, we knew false information could be spread through this miscommunication.
¨no! We are just friends but she was sick and i had to help her and-¨
Nicole gives us a nod before laughing again, it was more a chuckle this time, finally calming down. She made a turn to leave and my stomach dropped, there she went, off to tell anyone she could.
“Sure sure, girls. See ya later”
Is all Nicole says before she leaves, a sly smile plastered across her stupid face. What if she does decide to tell people?
Moving my eyes to train on Esther's face I could tell she had felt the same thing and was thinking what I was too. On the first day of school we had already screwed up.
I'm still looking at Esther when she says my name and looks me dead in the eye. I was shaking my head before she had even said anything about what was going to happen today.
¨were so screwed”
Esther says this in just a slight voice, and I knew it was true but I really didn’t want it to be. I thought we could move through this year smoothly but with what just happened I’m not so sure it’ll end up like that.
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